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February 5, 2012

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PCLinuxOS KDE 2012.02 Review

PCLinuxOS (PCLOS) for short is one of the few popular distributions out there that uses a fork of Mandriva as its base while others are based on some sort of variant of Debian. PCLOS uses KDE 4.6.5 as its desktop environment and is available for both 32bit and 64 bit systems. As with a lot of distributions, PCLOS comes as an installable Live environment so you can try it before you commit to installing it on your system.

Installation of PCLOS was somewhat quick and there were only a few options to really choose from. Where users might get stumped is under the Security setting; it asks for a password and it is for the bootloader and not your administrator password which will be asked later on. Other then that, there were no qualms with installation process. pclinuxos2012-2-2012-02-04-14-07-32

Once booting up for the first time after installation, we were greeted with a dialog display on how to update your system which is a good way to ensure that you’re protected from any potential issues, once that is done, we were greeted with a few icons on a simple desktop.

Synaptic Package Manager is the default program if you want to add, remove or update any packages that you have on installed on your system. For those who are concerned about wasting valuable disk space (more so with the advent of SSDs) there’s a program that will clean up unneeded files in BleachBit. Bleachbit allows you to choose which “sections” of files you want to clean off your system. For example, if you only use English on your system, BleachBit will remove all remnants of another installed language packs on PCLOS.

The PCLinuxOS Control Center gives you a lot of options to choose from whether it is configuring your hardware, to your Internet and network to configuring your hard drives, it is quite intuitive and you have options under one roof.

As always, LibreOffice is your office suite of choice, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird are installed by default or if you like, you can use Konqueror for your browsing experience. KMyMoney gets a shout out over here as it is a great financial tool for those who need to keep track of their money. We don’t hear much about financial tools being included that is why it is important that distros should atleast have it installed by default as per my personal opinion.

I’m quite pleased to see VLC as the default video player as sometimes there are distributions that offer two or three programs that can do the same thing. Pidgin is your default choice of instant messaging programs which allows you to connect to multiple accounts and multiple platforms like MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, heck even ICQ!

If you like listening to online music stations, Clementine is your application for that task. Although, I did have issues with getting SKY.fm to work due to a missing plugin, the error message didn’t specify which codec it was to get it to work. I was able to get Icecast to work without any issue.

Conclusion

There are quite a few distributions out there that are geared towards the novice user, and PCLOS does a great job at it. The website does have a community where one could ask for help and there is even a monthly magazine that they publish monthly with tips and tricks for Linux users. That right there is worth a few bonus points as they are trying to keep a community and help a new user. They have also published a

What I found strange in PCLOS is what the developers chose to have on the desktop by default. The applications they chose doesn’t make much sense in my opinion as there could have been better ones selected, say Firefox and Thunderbird, compared to LibreOffice Manager, Network Center, Firewall Setup and Localization manager.

More Information

Homepage: http://www.pclinuxos.com]

Screenshots: Click Here

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42 Comments
  1. rishidev
    Feb 6 2012

    Novice user and newbie user are overrated and are now almost obsolete. The so called novice user turns to a power user few days in a month. PCLOS cannot be panned in anyway as it strictly gives corporate oses a run for their money.
    One of the very best linux amongst others.

  2. Serge Stroobandt
    Feb 6 2012

    Notice that PCLinuxOS is a ***ROLLING RELEASE***.
    Is also available with other desktop environments, like LXDE for example.

  3. BobK54
    Feb 6 2012

    The desktop icons presented are very specific and chosen to assist with completing the installation process. “LibreOffice Manager” installs LibreOffice since it was too big to come preinstalled on the CD. “Network Center” will help set up your network if it was not set up automatically. “Firewall Setup” is self explanatory. “Localization Manager” will help install language packs for those whose first language is not English. The choice of icons on the desktop seem pretty natural to me. Of course I’ve been a PCLOS user and supporter for 6 years so I’m a bit biased. I love the fact that the distro is rolling and I do NOT have to reinstall every 6 months. I have fresh apps all the time as long as they pass testing first. To me, PCLOS is still the “distro-hopper stopper”.

    • Mike L
      Feb 6 2012

      I respect your opinion on it. I just find it a bit strange to someone who would be new to this distribution and might cause a bit of confusion why the LibreOffice Manager icon is still there. Localization manager is nice to have but I don’t see a need for it to be on the desktop.

  4. Andrew
    Feb 6 2012

    Does exactly what it says it will do. Few distros can lay claim to that? Proprietary OS; not even close.

  5. claudecat
    Feb 6 2012

    Please note that PCLOS is only available in 32 bit currently. There is a 64 bit version in the works which is available for testing, but the iso’s on the website are all 32 bit. It is a great os though, and yes, a rolling release, though a bit behind on things like the kernel and xorg.

  6. unixuser
    Feb 6 2012

    As mentioned, PCLOS is a very strong distribution – without doubt in the top 2.

    One comment, although it’s mentioned that PCLOS is based on Mandriva, that’s not the case and is a common misunderstanding (Distrowatch still says that I believe)

    PCLOS is an independent distro and use’s the best packages for it’s user base.

    • Mike L
      Feb 6 2012

      I saw that but also Drake Installer somewhat leads me to believe that it’s based on Mandrake/Mandriva but irregardless, it is still a great distribution.

  7. djohnston
    Feb 6 2012

    PCLinuxOS is no longer based on Mandriva. It was once, long ago, based on Mandrake. The packages come from many different sources, as well as being developed “in house”. If an application is functional and stable, it will be added.

    The KDE version is not the only desktop available. There are also LXDE, Openbox, e17, XFCE and Gnome versions, as well as some more specialized ones. KDE has historically been the main developer’s (Texstar) preference.

    As far as the desktop icons go, each one is there for a specific reason. The less common ones, such as Firewall Setup, Network Center and Localization Manager are configuration tools that make it easier to configure those items after installation, instead of hunting for them in the menus or the Control Center. The LibreOffice Manager icon is on the desktop because LibreOffice is not included on the CD. Including the full office suite would exceed the 700MB size of a CD.

    Also not mentioned is that although the package manager used is Synaptic, the packages are all in rpm format.

  8. ruel24
    Feb 7 2012

    Please note that, although there is not 64 bit stable version released, yet, you can add the PAE kernel that has 64 bit memory addressing within a 32 bit kernel to let you access all of your memory. That’s more or less the best of both worlds, isn’t it?

  9. ruel24
    Feb 7 2012

    Mike L, PCLinuxOS was originally based on Mandrake Linux, but is a complete fork. It just chooses to use Mandriva’s tools, as it’s always been part of the distro from the Mandrake days.

    • Mike L
      Feb 7 2012

      Thanks for the info. I’ll correct the mistake

  10. Anonynous
    Feb 7 2012

    Be careful. Historically, any review of PCLOS that doesn’t proclaim the distro to be utterly perfect and without flaw draws an army of PCLOS fanbois who “hammer” the blog in question. It’s one of the reasons I left PCLOS and never looked back.

  11. Feb 7 2012

    PCLinuxOS is not based on Mandriva. It is an independent distro. Yes, it uses some tools that were originally Mandriva tools, but that does not mean it is based on Mandriva.
    We have our own base and our own repositories filled with our own packages. Tools and other apps may come from anywhere, or they may be created by members of our community. We use what works, without prejudice as to its origin.

    • walt
      Sep 24 2012

      Actually PcLinuxOs was originally based on Mandrake (Mandriva) I beta tested the very first Alpha many years ago when texstar started talking about it on Mandrakes email list

  12. Feb 7 2012

    — Localization manager is nice to have but I don’t see a need for it to be on the desktop — Just the first app. after install and update in not native English speaking country’s. For me, it’s on the right place since 2007 ;)

  13. Truthhurts
    Feb 7 2012

    I find it irritating that Pclinuxos denies its past. Its packages may be ‘solely’ their own now but it owes a great deal of respect to Mandriva and the many tools it borrows from that great distro.

    A simple ‘locate mandriva’ in a terminal will tell you about how closely it belongs to Mandriva.

  14. bob
    Feb 7 2012

    Considering the ease with which software can be added and removed, it seems to me there is more important information for a review than a discussion of what packages are included.

    A discussion of stability, ease of use, performance and other information distinguishing this distro from others is, for the most part, not here.

  15. zeux
    Feb 8 2012

    Icons on desktop.. just move them to trash
    Mandriva or not??? who cares? everything works out of the box, what else?
    Ah! It’s boring.. because after install you need nothing to do, others you need to use some magic for video driver, flash, java, etc.
    Simply the Best

  16. Trask
    Feb 8 2012

    PCLinuxOS is developed by a small team of developers. They don’t always strip out all references to where a package comes from, but the distro has not been based on Mandrake for quite some time. It is a fork, and is descended from, but that is about like saying Mandrake is really Redhat, which it is in turn descended from, or that Redhat is actually its predecessor, which I believe was SLS if I recall correctly. The developers gather the best options for packages from a variety of sources, including Debian, Redhat, Mandriva and others. It isn’t based on any of them; it’s based on itself. It’s descended from, and is a fork of, Mandriva that has been self-based for a while now. That’s not denying the past, it’s simply stating that PCLinuxOS isn’t Mandriva. It’s PCLinuxOS.

    I find it amusing how there’s always one “anonymous” troll who attacks PCLinuxOS users in every comment section. These trolls almost invariably come from one particular distribution that really has no reason to be threatened by PCLinuxOS, as PCLinuxOS isn’t nearly as popular. Unless hat’s insecurity about their distro being good enough in comparison, maybe.

    Whatever the case, I have tried them all, and though there’s a lot of good stuff in the Linux world right now for desktops and ease-of-use focused, PCLinuxOS is the one I always come back to because it’s the only one I can install and forget about while actually getting work done.

    If you don’t like it, don’t use it, just like I don’t like your choice, troll, and rest assured, I don’t use it, either. But I also have the common decency not to bash it, because I know that for some people it’s a valid (if, in my opinion, misguided) choice.

  17. BobbyC
    Feb 9 2012

    I just trash the icons on the desktop after install and after loading Libreoffice. In 2012 they stuck with the same kernel and added some new firmware to it.The 2.6.38.8 bfs (brain fuck scheduler) kernel is a great performer. the KDE desktop at 4.6.5 is solid and stable.

    The install on my machine including formatting took barely five minutes. Then one just adds the passwords and user name after the first boot and the install is complete. It does not get any easier than that. PCLinuxOS has elements of Mandriva, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora and other distros in it in addition to its own unique characteristics.

    To me PCLinuxOS 2012 is the best KDE distro available at this time. One major reason for that in my opinion is that the developers kept what works and made what works better.

    • Mike L
      Feb 10 2012

      I agree it works pretty well and was quite responsive. One thing I would’ve like to seen added was Software Manager like other distros use, I find it adds a bit more user friendliness instead of just Synaptic alone.

      One bit was confusing like I said was during installation was the request for password which it didn’t make it too clear that it was for the bootloader and not for root.

  18. Feb 9 2012

    Have been using PCLinuxOS since V.92 and seen that everytime Tex leaves this distro for a while it breaks . Just witnessing a new sudden break of my KDE installation with some updates I installed , the system was broken , refusing to boot , did report at #pclinuxos but nobody seems to be interested to reply . Formatted my installed and installing PCLXDE now,if that breaks also as I was reported there is some issue going on openbox at pclinuxos at moment then I will remove it permanently till Tex comes back and stick to my Arch Linux installation only.

  19. ben
    Feb 9 2012

    >Novice user and newbie user are overrated and are now almost obsolete.

    What are you, high?
    if they were obsolete it would mean there is no new users.

    I support close to 20 users in our extended families and just like when htey were on windows, people are NOT interested often in learning about how to do things, they just want to click and that it works.

    my parents use the computer like an appliance while my kids fiddle with it. its a different mindset. my aunt has no interest in learning how to install a program, she’s happy with what she has and her husnbad was using windows for 20years and always depended on me (shes a great cook and he makes his own wine so it was always great to go over. now that Im older and use Linux, my friend KDRC means I dont travel at all for the few times they need me.)

    When I first started with Linux PCLOS became my go to distro for friends and family since 2007 because it was the only one that did wifi right.

    as I got more into Linux, I moved on to other things (my eldest always thought it was a waste of time because he says they all lookthe same) but PCLOS is still the one I recommend to everyone.
    The rolling distro is one reason, the ease of use is another and ever since 2007, it has Just Worked.

    When something goes that well, you sort of tend to take it for granted.

    I can use any KDE and not miss a beat but PCLOS has treated me well when Ive introduced newbies to Linux and this version is no different.

    • Mike L
      Feb 10 2012

      It is quite important to have novice based distros but doesn’t mean you couldn’t learn new things. Most people who use computers are mostly click and it works without wanting to know why it does a certain task or how it does it.

      PCLOS is pretty good distribution and I agree with you on the support calls because even though Windows works or something like it, you put a novice user with Linux, install the basic plugins for their browser and show which program does what and you don’t need to worry. Give a novice user Windows and within 30 minutes they will get infected with some sort of malware.

  20. jo13
    Feb 9 2012

    this distro is good to.. and enough for me.. i really enjoy this distro.. really done!

  21. BobbyC
    Feb 13 2012

    For most home desktop/laptop Linux novices who are looking for a Windows alternative PCLinuxOS 2012 KDE is ideal. Arch Linux is excellent but the installation is too burdensome for most Linux beginners. My theory is that the less a person knows about computers and hardware the better off they will be using a distro like PCLOS. Because as Mike L indicated give a newbee a Windows system and they will infect themselves nine out of ten times in short order.

    But beyond beginners. I can do just about anything in PCLOS as I can do in any other Linux distribution and then some. A software manager would be nice. But I love Synaptic as a front end to Apt.

    I share Linux with family and friends. Or, with anyone who expresses interest in Linux on their own. But I don’t actively promote Linux anymore. Mainly because the desktop developers seem to be too far out in front of the users.

  22. BobbyC
    Feb 13 2012

    Mint 11 for example was a great distro. Truly great. Mint 12 despite tremendous efforts to appease users is not so great. Mint 12 KDE never should have even come out of development. It is pretty bad. If a Linux Novice was running Mint 11 (which is supported to October) imagine the dismay of switching to Mint 12 before they barely got their Linux feet wet. One of Linux’s greatest strengths is rapid development. But that same strength can drive users batty.

    This PCLinuxOS 2012 KDE version does not need the latest KDE, Kernel and etc.. It works good. It is stable and I can do everything I want to do with it.

    • Dave
      Jun 17 2012

      I respectfully disagree as all reviews on the net concur.I have tried many distros and yes PCLinuxOS is a good distro but neither is Mint lacking as well.To each his own,just clearing up the facts.

  23. Bobby (other)
    Feb 24 2012

    Best part : I also tried many KDE distro, but always come back to PCLINUX. It just works. Damm stable. After upgrade, I always install PAE with bfs for extra RAM and Core. What’s the use of bleeding edge technology or software or kernel, if I can’nt use my computer, the way I want. PCLinux just allow me to do that. Synaptic is the best friend of linux user, you can chose upgrade according to your choice. The risky part is if you don’nt apply full upgrade in synaptic, it will crash, leave you at command prompt. As one reported above. That’s why now there is warning and tutorial at the first login after install 2012.02

    Sad part: No update manager or icon, which can show that updates are available. Every now and then one has to refresh synaptic for seeing the update or just forget about it, and just use the system. Because there gon’na be no problem.

    “The website does have a community where one could ask for help”. For asking help, you need to be registered with them. Nobody knows when they will register you. Just apply for login registration and sit back, and wait, wait and wait. I am still waiting for last 7 months. In the meantime, one will google around for help, and either he will solve the problem or change the distro. So, people at PClinux are very intelligent. They are small community, perhaps practically it may not be possible to help everyone. No distro does that.

  24. gregzeng
    Feb 27 2012

    Good to see the PCLOS reputation for non-fanboys is very intact. Look at the first responses to the original article, and then the more mature apologists for the fanboy attacks.

    My interest is renewed due to Youtube remarks that this MIGHT be best-to-use KDE distro. KDE has deserved its poor reputation. PCLOS + KDE … still to try it.

    IF it is a rolling release, then I’m glad that updates happen in the background. So … to try once again.

    • Shaine
      Aug 20 2012

      Every single distro has its “fanboy responses” without fail, not just PCLOS LOL. For some reason people insist on giving PCLOS a reputation for that, however it seems they mature and polite fanboy responses compared to much of the fodder you may read elsewhere.

  25. David McCann
    Feb 27 2012

    I’ve just finished looking at the Xfce version. No keyboard shortcuts, not even Alt-Tab. (This was reported as in bug in January 2010!) Neither media player worked with my flv test file, while the mp4 was silent.

    Last week I tested the KDE version. No keyboard shortcuts for switching desktops, nor any way to create them. No KDE helpfiles installed.

    Both versions lacked any office software. Not all parts of the world have broadband: try downloading LibreOffice on dial-up! The Xfce disk doesn’t even have a pdf viewer.

    Over the last decade, I’ve tested over 100 distros. PCLinuxOS is far from the worst (aLinux, Sourcemage) but it’s nowhere near the standard of Mepis, Mint, Parsix, Saline, Salix, or Vector.

    • Shaine
      Aug 20 2012

      KDE:
      Keyboard shortcuts are easily configured to your liking using “Configure your Desktop” (Systemsettings).

      PDF viewer in Xfce is easily done by installing Evince from package manager.

      Many people that use dialup choose a static rather than rolling release distro. Downloads will typically be between 50-100MB and sometimes bigger, which isn’t suited to dial-up speeds. You might be better off with a distribution which requires a single annual download and re-install for dial-up use.

  26. Nikolay Nikolaevich
    Mar 3 2012

    Все что просто – оригинально.
    PCLinuxOS – собрала все самое работоспособное в мире Linux.
    И тот факт что вы можете сохранить свою систему на Live DVD настроенную под свои нужды – заслуживает особого внимания и придает преимущество в развитии дистрибутива для повседневного использования, перед другими дистрибутивами.

    ——Translated——
    All that is simple – original.
    PCLinuxOS – brought together all the most usable in the world of Linux.
    And the fact that you can keep your system tuned to the Live DVD to your needs – deserves special attention and gives an advantage in the development of distribution for everyday use, to other distributions

  27. Bob Mikulak
    Mar 7 2012

    Just upgraded my PCLinuxOS install to 2012. Simple and smooth. Everything works, including linking to my home network with three Windows machines (XP, Vista, and Win7) and my Canon printer. Stable and lots of flexibility. I’m beyond being a newbie, but still quite satisfied with this distribution.

  28. Kevin LeBlanc
    May 25 2012

    Very happy PCLinuxOS user here. Yes, I’ve hopped a few times since first using it (missed Unity, believe it or not), but recent problems with the latest Ubuntu-based distros completely freezing have brought me right back.

    I’ve found that, recently, my PCLOS 2011 has repos that are apparently no longer used. It’s a tricky, but fairly easy fix, but it’s something that needs to be mentioned (I don’t have any blank CDs, or else I’d burn a copy of the current PCLOS version heheheh).

    Other than that, my quibbles are fairly minor. The fact that it uses an outdated kernel doesn’t bother me at all, since, at the end of the day, my computer works well. I don’t care if the kernel is a hamster in a hamster-wheel as long as my computer works and the little guy is kept well fed.

    It WOULD be nice to have the current version of KDE, though. But again, it works.

    • Shaine
      Aug 20 2012

      Kevin,
      Using the Repository Speed Test found in the applications menu will keep your repos up to date. Cheers.

  29. no wonder people stay with Windows & Mac
    Aug 22 2012

    after all that work and razzmatazz…
    what do you get…

    same old drab dreary edition with huge hideous icons
    9do you think your intended client,/users are all short-sighted? or old age-pensioners?

    gray gray & dreary black.. dreary charcoal gray
    shades of gray & black…
    same …..awful awful wallpapers

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. PCLinuxOS 2012.02 Review | Gnuman.com | Linux Blog
  2. Links 6/2/2012: PCLinuxOS 2012.02 and Mint KDE Reviews | Techrights
  3. Download PCLinuxOS 2012.2 KDE ISO | Download Softpediamirror

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